A New Year, a new church for New Thought in SCC
The new church focuses on the individual’s spiritual practices and philosophies rather than on a specific doctrine.
I say “it’s all good,”
in my knowing way;
Inviting God’s hand,
to bless my day.
— Part of a poem entitled “Evil Is Not The Work of God” by Sue Meixner
The light in her eyes, the smile on her face and her disposition filled with sunshine made me wonder if someone in the Sun City Center Community Association actually checked her ID before allowing her to move into the community. Sue Meixner looks not only young but also, somehow, ageless. With the mantra “It’s all good” on display everywhere from the license plate of her car to her comfortable living room, Sue immediately struck me as a happy and comfortable person. But, as is often the case, there is more to the story.
On January 1, 2012, Sue Meixner will greet the New Year from the pulpit of Sun City Center’s newest church, All Paths to God, a New Thought church, with a congregation gathering at the Sun City Center Chamber of Commerce.
By her own admission, her church is difficult to define using traditional terms, and that is primarily because the focus of the church is on the micro level as opposed to the macro level. The new church focuses on the individual’s spiritual practices and philosophies rather than on a specific doctrine.
“We are interdenominational, not nondenominational,” Meixner said. In other words, all are welcome, regardless of personal beliefs. The point, if it can be made succinct, is to enhance the spirituality and potential of each member individually, rather than as a church body. The basic tenets of the church are the presence, goodness, impartiality and availability of God and the ability of everyone to benefit from God’s gifts, including health, wealth and happiness. With God being a universal life energy that finds an outlet in and through everything that lives, and thus enters the church body as a force for positive work, with the power of positive thought.
Meixner’s church falls under the umbrella of Religious Science which falls under Science of Mind, which believes in the unity of all life, that everyone and every living thing is connected and that consciousness and free will are causative powers.
Science of Mind was established in 1927 by Ernest Holmes as a correlation of the laws of science, opinions in philosophy, and revelations in religion applied to human needs and the aspirations of man. Although some followers describe it as a progressive end of Protestant faith, it is not a Christian religion, per se. Holmes did, however, base much of his doctrine on Biblical teachings. “We teach the teachings of Jesus,” said one Religious Scientist. The Bible, however, is viewed as inspiration rather than strict doctrine or the final word. Meixner quotes Christianity’s Jesus in summing up the philosophy: “It is done unto you as you believe.”
“This is not an undertaking I had envisioned,” Meixner said of her new church. “Ten years ago I checked out the Tampa Science of Mind and I’ve been hooked ever since. This is an individual journey, but there is one unifying power and we have access to it.”
Using phrases such as “Change your thinking, change your life,” Meixner will preach what some people refer to as the Gospel of Optimism. It is a faith that each thought has the potential and power to change things, from a person’s life to the entire world. It is a belief that the faith that is practiced is of greater importance than the faith professed.
“My belief system in a higher power came from that sense that we are all made from that one thing and that one thing is good,” she said. “I came by the belief system in the sense that there is just a goodness and it will guide us on the path.”
But her beliefs took time to form and once they did, Meixner feels her life changed dramatically.
“I was a mental health counselor and I was going to put myself in the grave the way I was working,” she said. “I had no money in the bank, no credit, no nothing.”
And then she fell back on Religious Science.
“I went in trying to disprove it from day one,” she said. “But I was honest and practiced it — and I have not been able to disprove it.”
Four years ago, she had no health insurance when she was diagnosed with a tumor. It would cost $25,000 to remove but not removing it would be fatal. She reminded herself that she had to believe that things would work out. She reminded herself to believe.
She did and things did work out. Jobs came to her when she needed them, and, according to her, the universe provided. “The universe stepped in and provided the most bizarre opportunities,” she said.
For Meixner, it was indeed all good. After four years of practice and study, she has become the practitioner.
“Most people come into this believing the basic principles,” she said. “But they don’t understand why they don’t get it, why they have no money. They can’t get unlocked out of that thinking. I’m good at helping people to unlock themselves.”
And thus the seeds were planted for her new church. The first service at the Chamber of Commerce will not only herald the New Year, it will also take place two days after her parents’ 70th wedding anniversary, an alignment of events that will bring in friends, family and an extended family that spans the world for her first service.
“I thought it was perfect to start the New Year with a celebration of life,” she said. “All paths lead to God, you don’t need to give up your belief system. My biggest thing is to promote goodness in the world.”
As the interview wound down, I realized that my belief system is my own, not necessarily that of Religious Science. But after spending time with Sue Meixner I could see how what she practices and soon will preach could be used to enhance not only my personal spirituality but also my life. As we said our goodbyes, she handed me a $1,000,000 dollar bill. The bill was decorated with peace signs and hearts and in the place of a deceased president was a yellow smiley face. On the back, was a large peace sign with the words, “In God We Trust.”
As I put the million-dollar bill into my wallet, I realized that I felt like a million bucks. Positive thoughts are, apparently, not only powerful, but also contagious.
The New Thought Church will open at the Sun City Center Chamber on January 1 at 11 a.m. For information, call 813-362-0806 or email email@example.com.